I remember when Annie was brand new it seemed like everyone I talked to told me something along the lines of, “Enjoy every second. They grow up so fast.” At the time, when I was 2 or 3 weeks into motherhood and the days and nights were blending together for me, time and its quick passing was a concept I couldn’t wrap my mind around anymore.
Now, baby girl is 12 weeks old and I totally get what they were saying.
I remember being home on maternity leave and still being in that stage where I got all kinds of upset when Annie would cry and I couldn’t immediately calm her. I have this very specific memory of one day when Annie was maybe 3 weeks old and I was sitting in the glider, rocking to beat the band, big fat tears streaming down my face, and pressing Annie’s hot, red, screaming head to my chest, willing her to find some sort of comfort in what I was doing and just calm down already. I looked over at David in the midst of this and said, all pitiful, “I’m just so tired.” I think he took Annie from me and I wandered off to the bedroom, where I had a good cry and felt like a terrible mother.
Now, 2 months or so later, I understand that Annie will cry. And there are times when she will inconsolably cry. That’s just how it is with a baby. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom. It doesn’t mean I don’t love her enough or know how to comfort her. It just means she wants – or needs – to cry. And while those moments are fewer and farther between and as she gets older it gets easier to figure out what her deal is when she’s crying, they do still happen. And they will continue to happen – for years to come. I just deal with it better now…most of the time (no comments from my husband are necessary here).
But I digress…I guess my point is that in that moment those weeks ago I longed for Annie to be 12 weeks old. I remember thinking 12 weeks was some magic number when she would be oh so close to not being a newborn anymore and would, instead, be an honest-to-goodness baby. And now, here we are, with a big 12 week-old, and I can’t believe it’s happened so fast.
Yesterday was the first day of FALL. Fall, I say! Where did the summer go? And where did my newborn go? Now she’s big enough and strong enough to sit in a Bumbo seat and I haven’t had to support her head when I carry her for weeks. While she still loves to lie on her activity mat and bat at the toys hanging down, she greatly prefers sitting up on the couch with Mommy and Daddy to lying down on it. She makes flirty eyes at the ceiling fan and sometimes even sleeps in her crib during naps – unswaddled! When I carry her from room to room, it is in a modified version of the baby-on-hip-posture, not the holding-her-head-against-my-
chest thing I used to have to do because she was too little to have much head control. My baby girl is getting so big – it seems like she grows from the time I leave home in the morning until I come home in the evening. Where oh where does the time go?
And now, with it being so much easier to see what all of those people meant when they advised me to enjoy every second, I find myself wishing I could do these first 12 weeks all over again. Not because I would do them differently (although I would stress and worry less and just enjoy holding her, snuggling her, and staring at her more), but because I already miss her early babyhood.
Before I know it, she’ll be starting preschool, graduating from eighth grade, and learning to drive a car. In the blink of an eye, I’ll be helping her pick out a prom dress, dorm accessories, and curtains for her first apartment. Someday way too soon I will be unboxing my wedding dress and veil to see if it fits her (and praying she likes it enough to use part of it in her own fantasy day) and packing my bag to go help her with her own baby. The thoughts of this bring such big, sloppy tears to my eyes that I’m going to have to stop thinking about it. But I say all of this to say that I totally get it now. I know what they mean when they say that time flies, because I honestly have no idea where the last 12 weeks have gone.